I spent a solid 24 hours in my review of Ciel Fledge: A Daughter Raising Simulator. This game developed by Studio Namaapa and published by PQube is an interesting mix of visual novel, life simulator, and role-playing game, and there's a lot that I loved about it.
The upsides are almost entirely balanced out by several downsides. Some things in Ciel Fledge are just missing, and other areas could do with some improvement. These are the 11 things I'd like to see in Ciel Fledge!
1. Show the special effects of clothing in the store.
Equipping clothing is an essential part of Ciel Fledge. They can provide buffs like changing combat mechanics to your advantage or reducing the negative effects on your stamina, discipline, mood, or stress meters.
Unfortunately, there's a bit of a bugbear here: You can't actually tell what clothing does until you've bought it. If you have an idea of what you'd like to do for your character, you'll have to load your saved game again and again until you find the clothing that does what you want.
The fix is simple: list the clothing's effects on the store page so there's no more guessing.
2. Give us the option for 'cosmetic' clothing.
One of my favorite additions to Terraria is the ability to equip "cosmetic" items. You still wear armor and accessories to buff your stats, but you can also equip different items to give you an alternate visual look.
Part of Ciel Fledge's appeal is being able to dress up your daughter in interesting ways, but you can't really do that without trashing your build. My girl was set up for combat in her first playthrough, and losing that stuffy overcoat or ditching those ghastly boots would mean that I'd be less effective in the game.
Gamers will always take the path of least resistance—I can and have worn hilariously ugly gear just because it gave me better stats. I'd like the option to make Ciel look nice without sacrificing stats with the addition of cosmetic gear slots.
3. Reveal the entire training/jobs tree from the beginning.
This game has an absolutely massive amount of training classes and jobs for your daughter to experience, but most of them are hidden. You can gradually reveal them as you qualify for successive jobs, but some of these are a downright mystery.
As an example, I only discovered that being a pilot was a possibility once I unlocked a few of the prerequisites. This is a game that takes place over 10 years. You would ideally be planning out your daughter's future from the very beginning; hiding the training and job tree makes this unnecessarily difficult.
The solution for this one is pretty darn straightforward: please just reveal the whole training/job tree so we can set our daughters on the right path!
4. Reduce (or better yet, remove) the monthly stats decay.
One of the puzzling design choices in Ciel Fledge is the "First Day of the Month Blues." It's not explained very well in-game, but this means that you lose some of your primary stats at the start of every month.
I hate, hate, hate this system. In my first playthrough, each of my five primary stats had a maximum cap of 1,200. I could gain, at most, 28 or so points per week (and that's if I were very, very lucky).
If I trained super hard, I could max out a single stat in a year without this decay. But players rarely devote all of their time to training. They also focus on jobs, exploring the planet, or enjoying events.
As things stand right now, the stat decay is just too severe. I think it should be reduced or tweaked to make it way less harsh.
5. Provide players with an explanation for the status effects in Ciel Fledge.
The combat is Ciel Fledge is one of the highlights of the experience. It's an innovative system that plays out in real-time and I love how Studio Namaapa managed to make turn-based combat not boring.
Like most RPGs, this game also has status effects. Unfortunately, it doesn't really explain them. When an effect goes off, a little lightning bolt pops up above the target's head. What does that mean? I have no idea.
Adding a bit of text to this effect would go a long way to making combat easier to understand.
6. Add more weapons for Ciel as she gets stronger.
At first, Ciel only uses hand-to-hand combat in battle. She'll eventually get a gun license and head out into battle with a handgun. That's fine for the early game, but it's kind of wild that you're fighting murderous mutant polar bears with a pistol.
Ciel Fledge is a game with multiple routes and multiple endings. I explored a majority of the "military" training/jobs tree in my review — I even got a job as a soldier! — so I would have expected to come across a futuristic assault rifle or something like that. I didn't.
Now, it's entirely possible that Ciel gets a bigger gun in one of the other non-military trees for some reason. I may have missed it due to not yet having explored those avenues. Still, it feels like an addition that would make a lot of sense. Especially with things like the Junior Ranger and Ranger jobs — they're seriously sending a teenager out into the deadly wilderness with a handgun?
7. Let us play with the battle system more!
The combat system in Ciel Fledge is awesome, but it's got one downside: you can't really take advantage of it due to the nature of the game.
Ciel Fledge, you see, limits you to 10 years of in-game time. Once that time is up, your daughter moves out and the game ends.
I would like to see some kind of update or DLC that gives us more opportunities to play with the game's combat system because it's just so gosh-darn fantastic. Maybe a boss rush mode, or perhaps a post-story DLC that shows us Ciel focusing on her career in adult life.
8. Release a standalone soundtrack.
The combat is great, but the soundtrack in this game is amazing. I know that the game's successful Kickstarter campaign promised some of its backers a digital soundtrack, so I hope that that means we're getting one on Steam and elsewhere.
Seriously, take a moment and listen to the track "A Week at A Time" on the Kickstarter page. It's awesome! I could listen to this stuff all day.
9. Add a dash of romance!
This game chronicles Ciel's journey from Age 10 to 20. One topic is just flat out ignored, though: romance.
If you're curious, yes, the puberty talk does come up while you're raising Ciel. It's thankfully very short and it's just implied that you gave her "the talk," but that raises a question: What about dating?
I don't know about you, but it's hard to believe that a bunch of teenagers wouldn't try to date their close friends. Even worse, none of the adults seem to have anything going on, either! It shouldn't be the focus of the game, but it seems like a really strange omission in what is otherwise a fantastic story.
10. Give us a son as DLC.
The Kickstarter campaign had an optional son as a stretch goal, but that goal was never reached. It's understandable that something like this would cost a little more money.
You see, Ciel Fledge takes place over three phases of life: child, teenager, and young adult. This applies to her and all of her friends. The adults change after each of these phases, too, so the art (and the voice acting for the children) ends up requiring three times as much work. Adding a boy version would mean more voice acting, more art, and more clothing for all three phases of life.
It'd be nice for this to be a free update, but it would also be totally reasonable to see this released as a paid DLC considering the costs. I'd certainly buy it.
11. Continue the adventure someday!
Ciel Fledge has its issues from launch and I'm sure that the devs will shore up some of the problems eventually, but they got a lot of things right. The combat is engaging. The music is lively and entertaining. The art is adorable. Most importantly, however, is the worldbuilding, and that's one area where they really killed it.
The game is set more than a thousand years into the future. An alien attack has driven much of mankind to take refuge in gigantic flying ships called Arks. They live in cities atop the Ark when its safe and retreat within when the aliens attack. It's an understandable reaction to a deadly alien threat.
The mystery of the Gigant aliens and the ruins of the old world just scream for a grander adventure. Ciel Fledge is a lovely game, and I sure hope that this isn't the end of this world.
What would you like to see added to Ciel Fledge: A Daughter Raising Simulator? Does the concept of the game intrigue you? Let us know in the comments below!